Meaning of pterodactyl in English:


Pronunciation /ˌtɛrəˈdakt(ɪ)l/

Translate pterodactyl into Spanish


  • 1A pterosaur of the late Jurassic period, with a long slender head and neck and a very short tail.

    Family Pterodactylidae, order Pterosauria: several genera, including Pterodactylus

    ‘Other anatomical features, such as attachment points for powerful neck muscles, support the idea that giant pterodactyls once plowed the waters for food.’
    • ‘Earlier, Witmer and others had performed a similar study on fossils of the flying reptiles called pterodactyls, which are not related to Archaeopteryx.’
    1. 1.1(in general use) any pterosaur.
      ‘I decided on a pterodactyl, a dinosaur with a distinct advantage over most dinosaurs: the ability to fly like an eagle.’
      • ‘Based on widely accepted criteria, pterodactyls and other pterosaurs are not dinosaurs.’
      • ‘Birds, close cousins of pterodactyls, are believed to have evolved from theropod dinosaurs about 150 million years ago.’
      • ‘Similarly, there's no creationist reason why the pterodactyls shouldn't have a fur-like covering - yet no evolutionist believes that pterodactyls evolved into mammals.’


Early 19th century from modern Latin Pterodactylus (genus name), from Greek pteron ‘wing’ + daktulos ‘finger’.